Brand Name :
Generic Name :
What is this drug and what is it used for?
Erbitux is used to treat two different types of cancer:
- Metastatic cancer of the large intestine. In these patients, Erbitux is used alone or in combination with other anticancer medicines.
- A certain type of cancer of the head and neck (squamous cell cancer). In these patients, Erbitux is used in combination with radiation therapy or with other anticancer medicines.
How is this drug given?
Dosage and administration
Erbitux is usually infused into a vein (given as a drip) once a week. Your doctor will calculate the correct dose of Erbitux for you because it depends on your body surface area. The first dose (400 mg/m² body surface area) is infused over a period of approximately 2 hours with an infusion rate not faster than 5 mg/min. Each subsequent dose (250 mg/m² body surface area) is infused in approximately 1 hour with an infusion rate not faster than 10 mg/min.
Duration of treatment
Erbitux is usually infused once a week. The duration of treatment may vary depending on your disease as well as from person to person and your doctor will therefore discuss with you how long you will receive Erbitux.
Possible side effects
The main side effects of Erbitux are infusion-related side effects and side effects concerning the skin:
Infusion-related side effects
Mild or moderate infusion-related side effects include:
- Breathing difficulties
Severe infusion-related side effects include:
- Severe breathing difficulties which develop rapidly
- Chest pain (a symptom of side effects on your heart)
Side effects concerning the skin
Main side effects concerning the skin include:
- Acne-like skin alterations
- Dry skin
- Excessive growth of hair
- Nail disorders, for example inflammation of the nail bed
Side effects concerning the lungs
In uncommon cases (may affect up to 1 in 100 people) patients may experience an inflammation of the lungs (called interstitial lung disease), which may have serious consequences including life-threatening conditions.
Other side effects
Very common side effects (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)
- Inflammation of the lining of the intestine, mouth, and nose (in some cases severe), which may lead to nose bleeding in some patients
- Decrease in blood levels of magnesium
- Increase in blood levels of certain liver enzymes
Common side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)
- Irritation and redness of the eye
- Drying out which may be due to diarrhoea or reduced fluid intake
- Feeling sick
- Loss of appetite, leading to weight decrease
- Decrease in blood levels of calcium